[Home - Main Page] [The Dawson Papers] [Email and Feedback]
[General Fitz. Comments] [President Davis's Comments] [Early Life Of Cooper]
THE COOPERS IN WASHINGTON AND RICHMOND
"Belles, Beaux, and Brains of the 60's"
"Of vital important at all times of war, and most of all in a young country just forming its army, is the adjutant-general. The secretary of war is helpless without a just, experienced, and reliable guide to the fitness and records of new appointees. "The Confederacy was peculiarly fortunate in this regard. General Samuel Cooper was a veteran of two wars, thoroughly familiar with the personnel of both armies, clear-headed, and without prejudice. A West Pointer of the class of 1815, he had served with Harney in Florida, and on both the Scott and Taylor lines in Mexico.* When he succeeded General Roger Jones as adjutant-general of the United States Army, he had already learned the men whom he was to handle later, and those whom they were to meet, two points invaluable in making assignments and determining fields of duty.
He resigned and was among the earliest to tender his service at Montgomery, and there and at Richmond he was a trusted and capable adviser to his chief to the bitter end. General Cooper was a Northern man, having been born at New Hackensack, N.Y., June 12, 1798. He was the son of Samuel Cooper and Mary Horton, sterling people of the little state. In the early 30's he married Miss Sarah Maria Mason, granddaughter of George Mason of Gunston Hall. Naturally, when promoted to adjutant general of the old army, the family moved to the national capital.
Mrs. Cooper was the daughter of a race noted for the strength, helpfulness, and gentleness of its women. Prior to the war her quiet home in Washington had been a favorite resort of the best of official and social people, drawn thither by the beauties of person and character of her young lady daughter, Maria. One of the prettiest and best remembered weddings of the capital was when this universally loved girl married dashing Lieutenant Frank Wheaton, and Fitshugh Lee, then of slender rank, was best man.
Eheu Fegaces! The bride has been dead decades, but lives still in the memory of loyal friends, and in her charming and tried daughter and her children. His native state, Rhode Island, has only lately reared a stately monument to Major-General Frank Wheaton, and still later, paeans and sobs mingled about the bier of his lifelong friend, Fitz Lee. The only child of General Wheaton and his beautiful and universally lamented wife was a daughter named for her mother. She married a young army officer who gave his life for the old flag at San Juan Hill, Captain Rowell. His widow survives with a lovely family, Frank Ashley, Charles, and Maria.
In Richmond the young lady of the house was Miss Jennie Cooper, a sunny natured, bright, frank woman of strong character. Never having had the society craze, she did not topple her home in the swin, but free and genial hospitality met all who crossed its threshold, and their number was legion. Captain Samuel Cooper was the only son. He was a quiet, easy-going fellow, always ready to do his duty, but not finding it, as a general think, in the social rush of the 60's. He and his sister were the sole survivors of his family. He never married and lived with her at "Cameron," where he died two years ago.
Popular with both sexes, Miss Cooper probably had more "reports" about her in war days and close thereafter than most women: many of them, doubtless, with basis. She married Nicholas Dawson, a merchant of Baltimore, but a citizen of Virginia. The old family seat, "Cameron," near Alexandria, has been their home; their three children making the fourth generation its venerable walls have sheltered. Mrs. Dawson still resides there with her second son, Philip, of the Riggs Bank, Washington. Cooper, the eldest child, recently married Miss Edna Horner, daughter of Major Horner of the Confederate army. He has built a new home on the Cameron domain to be near his mother, going into Alexandria for business. The only daughter, Miss Maria Mason Dawson, still more recently married Rev. William Gibson Pendleton, grandnephew of General Pendleton of Confederate artillery fame. His father is Colonel William Nelson Pendleton, of the old and noted line.
From U. S. Army Register